We thank Priya Kathpal, Founder Nutrify for this article.
Priya is a Nutritionist with over 15 years of experience. She works with health and fitness enthusiasts, people with medical conditions like diabetes, PCOS, hypothyroid and other lifestyle disorders, sportspeople and children. I happened to attend one of Priya’s workshop and that is where I could get all the insights for this article.
Welcome to toddler-hood, your little baby now is all over the place trying to walk or may be already running. How would he cope up with his energy requirement for all that running around and exploring his surroundings?
This is the time a child should start eating what the family eats. Hence it is important for the family to switch to healthier meal options if they have not been doing so already. Now we need to focus on the fact that the baby should eat with family and eat what family eats.
So, if the family isn’t eating healthy or eats very spicy food or cooks for the liking of specific people at home, your toddler invariably will start eating all that others eat; healthy if they are eating healthy, junk if others are eating junk.
How will it work?
A child turning 1 year old is also a milestone for the family, this should be taken as an opportunity to make sure the family makes changes if they don’t eat healthy already, like not eating too spicy, oily, having healthy meals, including salads in the meals etc.1 year is an impressionable age they learn by observation. If they see you eating something and are offered something else, they will resist what they are being offered. One of the many reasons why kids fuss about foods and that is why you need to sit with them and eat with them.
1 year and plus is also the age when kids start to explore, walk and run, should you be feeding on the run too?
Forming a habit takes weeks, sometimes months; so, from day 1 of starting of solid food make a habit to sit at same place and make meal time a pleasant experience. Let them explore food, even play with it but only to an extent. Make clear lines on meal times.
There are always exceptions but there should be an association with meal time that says let’s sit and have our food. Communicating about it, with clear simple words consistently is the key.
What kind of foods should offer?
Food that is made at home – Whatever you make at home, just make sure the child gets enough nourishment. Look for local, seasonal and traditional. Even in cereals and pulses look for what’s grown around you. You may give global food but focus on local because what’s grown around you is what your body needs.
Should the caretakers be feeding or your toddler be eating on their own?
It’s important to go by their cues. If your child insists on eating on their own, let them, there will be some mess, but touching food and self-feeding is one of the best sensory play.
Other reasons why self-feeding is important-
- It’s important for them to feel in control make better decisions
- The stress is less
- They will sit and eat and not run around since you are not the one controlling the situation
If they wish to be fed even that’s fine, but your aim should be to gradually move the child to eat on his/her own.
You may like this post on inculcating good values in our kids by Amritha.
Why no salt and sugar? How long should one follow this?
At least till one year you should not offer salt and sugar to your child. Post one-year small amounts of iodised salt and natural salts like pink Himalayan and rock can be introduced. When it comes to white sugar there is no need ever to offer the same; Jaggery, honey in small quantity are enough to take care of sweetening agents. Please avoid honey till one year to exclude the risk of botulism in infants.
Toddlers (ages 1 to 3) are going through a lot of changes and striving for independence and control; this phase can often be challenging when it comes to feeding. Their growth rate slows down and with this comes a decrease in appetite. These changes can make meal-times difficult.
Let us talk about building Immunity of our little ones. Immunity can be defined in 2 ways-
The capability of body to not let the disease attack you and the capability to fight if the diseases attack. This means a child who falls sick is not less immune, unless the recovery is longer too.
How do infants develop immunity?
Infants develop immunity by Breast milk. Second thing that helps is letting the baby fight. Breast-milk provides with everything a baby needs to fight the diseases
So, the longer we nurse the better it is for the baby.
The first year of children is the most vulnerable period but it’s also the easiest to take care because most babies are in a protected environment for the first year. The babies are breastfed or they are given sterilised bottles. Their exposure to outside world is limited.
Post 1 year a lot of things change, many babies are also weaned from breast-milk and then comes the play group time, once the babies turn about 2 years. Now they are not just exposed to the entire family but many kids who themselves are vulnerable. What can we do to help them at this stage?
Hygiene is one part to build immunity, once they are back home; but too much cleanliness can actually work the other way round. Kids need to be exposed to everything around for them to develop the immunity
In the next article we will discuss food that can help build immunity. Till then stay safe.
You can reach out to Priya on Nutrifye Facebook page.
Please also check this post by my fellow blogger Surabhi.